Birding Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, Texas

Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, on the southernmost stretch of the Rio Grande, is one of the world’s top birding destinations — and for good reason. Located at a crossroads of biodiversity, it is home to species such as Green Jays, Common Pauraques, Plain Chachalacas and Great Kiskadees, which reach the northern limit of their range in this area.

At the same time, the refuge is important habitat for birds from the Central and Mississippi flyways that funnel through the area on their way to and from Central and South America. Hundreds of thousands of migrating Broad-winged Hawks, Northern Harriers, Peregrine Falcons, and other birds of prey fly over the refuge in spring and fall — occasionally joined by Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge’s rarest raptors, the Hook-billed Kite and Gray Hawk. Among the passerine migrants, more than 35 species of warblers visit the refuge in the spring including Golden-winged Warbler, Tropical Parula, and Yellow-breasted Chat.

To break up the incredible birding, Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge also offers more than three hundred species of butterflies, and the tantalizing possibility of catching a glimpse of a rare jaguarundi, indigo snake, or ocelot. The annual Rio Grande Valley Nature & Birding Festival often includes field trips to this special area.

An ebird Trail Tracker station at the refuge shows visitors what birds are being seen when and where.

Hooded Oriole at Santa Ana NWR by Lesly Torres

Hooded Oriole at Santa Ana NWR by Lesly Torres

 Thanks to the USFWS for data and images used in this post.

Birding Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, Texas. Have you birded here? Tell us about it in the comments:

Leave a Comment